Our Vision, Mission & Values

Our vision

To be the Destination, Experience and Company of Choice

Our mission

To Identify, Develop & Promote WOW based experiences.

Our values - the 5 C's

  1. Customer (Manaakitanga)
  2. Company (Tino Rangatiratanga)
  3. Community (Iwi Whanui)
  4. Conservation (Kaitiakitanga)
  5. Culture (Whakapapa)

Our Philosophy

We seek to:

Annually agreed strategic objectives and departmental targets within the company's business plan underpin our commitment and are regularly reviewed and monitored for effectiveness. Where financially viable, we give preference to suppliers who themselves have sound environmental policies and practices.

Education is an important aspect of the experience we deliver and something we have spent a lot of time and capital on, with our aim being to send our customers away knowing that they have learnt something new about the marine life in the Kaikōura Canyon and our environment. We work hard to support our environment by undertaking a number of actions. Many of these you will not see, but some you may notice.

A few examples of actions that you may not see include:


Sustainable Whale Watching in Kaikōura

Whale watching in Kaikōura has had over 10 years of robust scientific research conducted on it in relation to the potential impacts of commercial Whale watching on Sperm Whales, all interactions with marine mammals are governed by the New Zealand Marine Mammal Protection Regulations.

The latest research completed in 2011 concluded:

The current regulations administered by the Department of Conservation including existing limits on permitted tours and the three vessels within 300m rule appear to appropriately manage the level of interaction between tour vessels and whales. Such regulations minimize effects of the vessels on sperm whales, promoting a sustainable whale watching industry at Kaikōura. Looking forward, it would appear that whale watching tourism at Kaikōura is on the right track, with growth and development that is good for the community and does not appear to impact the animals. For example, the newer, larger vessels operated by whale watch can carry more passengers and make less noise. While marine mammal eco-tourism will no doubt continue to expand at Kaikōura, we suggest that continued caution is warranted with respect to the rate of growth and the sort of growth to ensure both a healthy tourism business and a healthy sperm whale population for generations to come.

Winter has bought with it some amazing scenery for our tours, with the snow-capped mountains making for a jaw-dropping background for our guests’ photos. Last week’s whale watch trips had some spectacular sightings, including Humpback Whales being spotted playing with hundreds of Dusky Dolphins on Wednesday and Thursday! We sighted four Humpbacks on our tours this week as we continue to see them stop in for a quick visit to Kaikoura on their way to breed and give birth in Northern warmer waters.

Monday and Wednesday’s tours sighted pods of up to five Sperm Whale, with tours this week also spotting semi-resident Sperm Whales Tiaki, Tutu, Saddleback, Aotearoa and Matimati feeding in the Hikurangi Trench. Each of these whales can be distinguished by the different shaped dorsal fins, tail shapes, marks and scars they have which we get a good view of when they are on top of the water oxygenating and also when they dive down to feed.

When time allowed, our tours have also seen pods of Dusky and Hector’s Dolphins, New Zealand Fur Seals and various marine birds including the Shy Mollymawk and the Caspian Tern. These birds look like gulls, with dark wing tips and large red bills. In New Zealand, Caspian Terns frequent sheltered bays and harbours of the main islands, but are also seen regularly at inland lakes and rivers. As Caspian Trends don’t breed in Kaikōura, the birds seen here are likely to be from the breeding colonies at the Wairau lagoons or Lake Ellesmere.

Don’t forget, the annual photography competition for Kaikōura’s 48 Hours in Kaikoura takes place next weekend on the 5th and 6th of August so make the trip and bring your camera to capture Kaikōura’s amazing natural wonders and marine life. This year there will be new seascapes and landscapes featured for the first time since the November Earthquake which will make for some new and interesting competition. There are categories for both amateurs and professional photographers so there’s no excuse not to join in on the fun!

REGULAR, SCHEDULED CLOSURES OF STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

As we enter into the cooler winter months it is a good reminder to take extra care on the roads and to check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling.

Progress is continuing to be made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina, with the modified trailer and public jetty now being used for launching our vessel Tohora. This is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. All our berths have now been removed. This is an end of an era but we are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! The use of the modified trailer and public jetty will continue until further notice. It is anticipated that the Kaikōura Marina will be fully restored in October 2017.

Currently our available tour times are based around the tide times on the day and may differ from the tour times originally advertised, please bear with us as we continue to work toward being fully operational again. For an update on the tour times available, please contact our Customer Service team directly either by email on res@whalewatch.co.nz, phone +64 3 319 6767 or free phone 0800 655 121 (within NZ) and they will be able to help you with your inquiry.  Please note we are operating at a reduced capacity in the interim with up to 3 tours available per day. Please contact our team prior to arriving in Kaikōura to secure a space on one of our tours and to save disappointment.

KAIKOURA BUSINESS UPDATE

Kaikōura is open for business. For latest updates on accommodation, restaurant and retail information please contact the team at the Kaikōura I-Site who will be able to help you find what suits your needs during your stay in Kaikōura. 

TRANSPORT UPDATE

IntercityHasslefree Tours & Canterbury Leisure Tours have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch, as well as Kiwi Experience now having the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers.

Progress on the work being done on roads (along with harbour repairs) can be found on this dedicated KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Friday. Work is also starting to take place on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.